It's true. Anyone could teach. My dad, who is a dental sales representative and comments on my "summers off", could absolutely implement a lesson in my classroom, albeit not well. My substitute, who jumps from one grade level and classroom to another on any given day, could show up and implement a scripted lesson. What makes these truths hard to hear is that we don't want to be just "anyone". Because if that's the case, then what is all this hard work, day in and day out, all about? What am I spending all of my time doing???
We are working toward not being just "anyone", but instead toward being intentional. You see, intentionality makes the difference between simply teaching versus providing authentic learning experiences for children. Intentionality changes everything and everything is affected by intentionality.
But it's HARD to be intentional, especially in every part of a long, mind-consuming day of instruction. However, if we start small, intentionality can become second-nature. It can slowly feed into each and every piece of our day, both inside and outside of school, through forces of habit.
In this series, you'll be thinking about what it means to be intentional in the classroom. You'll read about a formula that encourages intentionality. And you quite possibly will hear the word "intentional" repeat in your dreams.
What does it mean to be intentional?
Take a look at these pictures. What do you see? Which might model simply teaching versus teaching intentionally?
Yes, these are simple images from a Google search, but they paint a clear picture of what we might idealize as simply teaching or teaching intentionally. The problem is, even though we may immediately identify the first picture (of the girl raising her hand) as the model of "simply teaching", there really is no indicator that the second picture exemplifies intentional teaching. Sure, students may seem interested, maybe even fully invested, in this activity. But who's to say it's anything more than just an activity.
Therein lies the heart of being intentional in the classroom. Merriam-Webster provides these definitions for "intention" and "intentional":
Part of practicing intentionality in the classroom is keeping its meaning at the forefront of our minds. Every single word or phrase listed in these definitions should provide the motivation behind every decision we make, in every part of our day. I would go as far as to say that intentionality transcends every teaching tool and strategy known to the education world. For it is only by intent that we truly affect academic, social, and behavioral growth in students.
As we prepare to delve into the next three parts of this series, you'll want to take time to reflect on the definitions for "intention" and "intentional". Perhaps you decide to create a sticky note (or several) that remind you of these definitions. Maybe you discuss the meaning of intentionality with co-workers or friends. You might even participate in the Twitter discussion on this specific topic Thursday evening (01/24/19) at 8:00pm (EST) #INTENTedchat ! One way or another, begin meditating on these definitions so that they are continually present in your mind. I promise, you'll immediately begin to notice a difference in your teaching!
Who's Ready to start teaching on purpose?!
Welcome! I am Casey Watts- teacher, mentor, leader, mother, and wife aspiring to be much more!